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Israel at War

Ethics and Rules of Proportionality in the Israel-Hamas War

Idit Shafran Gittleman

Idit Shafran Gittleman

Idit Shafran Gittleman


The laws and ethics of war demand the differentiation between civilian and military targets; simultaneously, the rules of warfare acknowledge and accept that unintentional harm and death to civilians and noncombatants may be caused by parties in conflict. Requirements such as proportionality, necessity, and intentionality serve to guide decision making within these competing principles. In this session, Idit Shafran Gittleman, a senior researcher at The Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, explores the theoretical underpinnings of these requirements and their relevance to October 7th and the Israel-Hamas war.

Part of the series, Ethics of War: Jewish, Philosophical, and Legal Perspectives:

The horrors of October 7th and the subsequent war in Gaza have raised urgent questions around Israel’s military response and the degree to which it is morally and legally justified. These questions are being litigated by politicians, policy makers, philosophers, and on social media, and have given rise to a range of responses, in both the international community and in Israel. The debates are dynamic, changing, and evolving in real time. In this series, Idit Shafran Gittleman, Shlomo Brody, and Yitzhak Benbaji, three leading Israeli thinkers in this field, explore the ethics of war through traditional Jewish sources, moral philosophy, and law.

Other sessions in this series:

  • Siege Warfare and Civilian Casualties: Jewish Values and Israel’s Dilemma (Shomo Brody)
  • Just War Theory in Israel and the International Community: October 7th and Its Aftermath (Yitzhak Benbaji)

This program is part of Ideas for Today, curated courses by Hartman Institute scholars on the big Jewish ideas we need to think better and do better.

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